SYMPOSIUM 9: Creating a community of reflective practitioners in teacher education

Year: 1996

Author: Francis, Dawn, Klein, Mary, Osborne, Barry, Wilson, Eric

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The four year preservice BEd at James Cook University in Cairns is built around notions of Emancipatory, Social Justice and Critical Reflection. Four staff members involved in teaching the program, although coming from different paradigms and orientations, now strongly influenced by poststructuralism, work together with students to create not only critical collaboration among students, but also with each other and with the wider community of teachers.

This symposium spells out the ways we critically reflect upon and modify our curriculum, defined after Connell (1989) the content, the learning approaches, and the assessment strategies we use to foster and sustain a community of critically conscious educators who teach well. To do this we examine several of the key constructs we use within our teaching. These include social justice, subjectivity/objectivity, inverted curriculum, critical literacies, diversity, critical collaboration, reflective practitioner, teaching skills, critical inquiry, tensions, voice and silences, critical pedagogy and transformation. We show the interrelatedness of, and conflicts between, this content, the processes we use to teach it, and our assessment practices. We build a case that our program and our strategies are therefore placed firmly within Freire's (1972) notion of praxis. What is more we argue that this ongoing process is building, refining and thus sustaining a community of critical enquirers among our students, ourselves, and teachers we work with.

We provide evidence for our claims in this symposium using Power Point technology and expand upon them in our individual papers.